Newcastle Falcons endured a tough day at the office as London Irish took all five Gallagher Premiership points from Saturday’s encounter at Brentford Community Stadium.
The Exiles led 28-14 at the break and pushed on thereafter – winger Ollie Hassell-Collins completing a hat-trick for the home side.
The Falcons had begun the game with a period of sustained defence inside their own half, and having maintained their shape and discipline for seven minutes the wall of red was finally breached when winger Kyle Rowe jinked and stepped his way through some heavy midfield traffic to dot down between the posts.
Paddy Jackson added the simple conversion, and was striking a second just three minutes later when Ollie Hassell-Collins exploited numbers down the left to score from 50 metres out.
After their sluggish start the visitors finally came to life as an attacking force, spending almost 10 successive minutes in the London Irish 22 where they earned repeated penalties.
It culminated in a try from Sean Robinson thanks to Will Haydon-Wood’s brilliantly-delayed pass – the fly-half then adding the converting to halve the Exiles’ lead.
The home side restored their 14-point buffer just before the half-hour when a line-out in the right corner saw the ball whipped along the line – a long, looping pass eventually finding Hassell-Collins who dived into the left corner.
Jackson converted impressively from the left touchline, and his side had the four-try bonus point on 32 minutes when Steve Mafi scored from a close-range ruck to the right of the posts.
The Falcons responded with a Callum Chick try from a pick-and-go down the left after kicking a penalty to the corner, Will Haydon-Wood’s conversion cutting London Irish’s half-time lead to 28-14.
The Exiles registered the opening points of the second period when Jackson slotted a penalty from 35 metres out in front, and their dominance continued when Hassell-Collins completed his hat-trick with an unconverted try in the left corner on 52 minutes.
It took the TMO to deny them a sixth try when Olly Cracknell was pulled back for not releasing the ball after a tackle, but it was only a temporary reprieve as Agustin Creevy forced his way over from a close-range pick and go on 66 minutes.
Adam Radwan raced in from halfway in the very last minute of the game, but it was mere consolation for a well-beaten Falcons outfit
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Penny (Pete Lucock, 67), 13 Max Wright, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Will Haydon-Wood (Brett Connon, 69), 9 Louis Schreuder (Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 69); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Logovi’i Mulipola, 64), 2 George McGuigan (Robbie Smith, 67), 3 Trevor Davison (Mark Tampin, 40), 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson (Rob Farrar, 64), 6 Philip van der Walt (Connor Collett, 64), 7 Gary Graham (captain), 8 Callum Chick.
Scorers – Tries: Sean Robinson, Callum Chick, Adam Radwan. Conversions: Will Haydon-Wood 2, Brett Connon.
London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Kyle Rowe, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps (Ben White, 66); 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke (Allan Dell, 66), 2 Agustin Creevy (Mike Willemse, 66), 3 Ollie Hoskins (Ciaran Parker, 69), 4 Steve Mafi, 5 Rob Simmons (George Nott, 66), 6 Matt Rogerson (captain), 7 Tom Pearson (Juan Martin Gonzalez, 66), 8 Olly Cracknell.
Scorers – Tries: Kyle Rowe, Ollie Hassell-Collins 3, Steve Mafi, Agustin Creevy. Conversions: Paddy Jackson 5. Penalties: Paddy Jackson.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys. Attendance: 6,808.
Parton, Rowe, Rona, Janse van Rensburg, Hassell-Collins, Jackson, Phipps, Goodrick-Clarke, Creevy, Hoskins, Mafi, Simmons, Rogerson, Pearson, Cracknell
Replacements Willemse, Dell, Parker, Nott, Gonzalez, White, Jennings, Williams
Brown, Penny, Wright, Burrell, Radwan, Haydon-Wood, Schreuder, Brocklebank, McGuigan, Davison, Peterson, Robinson, van der Walt, Graham, Chick
Replacements Smith, Mulipola, Tampin, Farrar, Collett, Nordli-Kelemeti, Connon, Lucock
TMO: Wayne Barnes
referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
assistant: Greg Macdonald
assistant: Joe James